Grand jury indicts officer accused of sexually harassing SU student during traffic stop, court records show
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury has formally charged a police officer accused of kidnapping a Southern University student, according to court records.
The indictment on Wednesday, Aug. 24, charged Officer Donald Steele Jr. with second-degree kidnapping and malfeasance in office from an incident that occurred in June 2021, confirmed the alleged victim’s attorney Ron Haley.
A Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman said Steele has been terminated from the department, effective Aug. 24.
“A thorough criminal investigation was worked by the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department,” said Chief Murphy Paul. “And a thorough administrative investigation was also worked by the officers in our Internal Affairs Division. And today, what you saw was accountability.”
The attorney representing a Southern University student who was allegedly sexually harassed by a Baton Rouge police officer and the Baton Rouge Chapter of the NAACP held a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 25 to discuss the officer’s arrest and charges filed against him.
“While we consider this news a step towards progress, it is far from justice. Officer Steele took an oath to protect and serve, but instead abused his authority to sexually violate and harass a vulnerable young college student. Thankfully, our client made it home safely from this terrifying encounter and courageously came forward to report Officer Steele’s behavior, but she will live with this traumatic and painful experience for the rest of her life,” the victim’s attorney Ron Haley said.
Officer Donald Steele, Jr., 34, was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of second-degree kidnapping, malfeasance in office, and misdemeanor of sexual battery on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
According to the arrest warrant, Steele pulled over the female student near LSU on June 23 and told her she was drinking and driving but she was not getting a ticket “because she was cute.”
He asked to see the victim’s phone and looked through her pictures and sent one of her photographs from her to himself through the Dropbox app, police say.
Steele told then victim to follow him to another location near the Baton Rouge airport or he would arrest her if she did not comply, arrest records say.
Police wrote in the arrest report once Steele and the victim were at the other location, Steele told he could “have sex with her better than anyone she’s ever been with.”
According to arrest records, Steele is also accused of grabbing the victim’s breasts and grabbing her face and kissing her.
Steele allegedly asked the victim if she was “shaved” and tugged on the waist band of her sweatpants, authorities say.
Detectives say Steele texted the victim sexually explicit messages after the traffic stop.
The Baton Rouge Police Department conducted an internal affairs investigation and placed Steele on administrative leave.
“Grounds for belief are based on the victim’s statements, the positive photographic lineup identification, and the GPS data that shows the Defendant at the locations the victim specified,” the police detective wrote in Steele’s arrest warrant.
WAFB’s Perry Robinson will have more on this story on 9News at 6.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2021 WAFB. All rights reserved.